8 great Women of Fuerteventura to commemorate International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day theme on 8 March 2022 is “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.” Recognizing the world’s leading women’s contribution to a sustainable future for all.
The United Nations says that “inequality is present in all spheres of life, with serious consequences for women’s personal and social development.”
Not so many years ago, we lived in a male-dominated Universe. Many women throughout history have represented the female figure, women without voice or vote, completely unknown and ignored by many. Little by little, thanks to the struggle of many of them and their union, we were able today to develop our potential and obtain new opportunities in the political and social sphere.
As a representation of the women of Fuerteventura, we have chosen 8 unique women who have changed their lives and continue to change them, giving society and, above all, many women the power to be more and more accessible and powerful.
Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and resident on the island of Fuerteventura. Ico Ramos is one of the women whose mission she defines as “to make women’s souls shine so that they can empower themselves and expand their light.”
Her transformation began with the arrival of the economic and structural crisis of 2008. She worked as a social worker in the public administration for 16 years, accompanying many people and groups daily, improving their quality of life. And with the crisis, she began her existential crisis of finding herself and her happiness.
In 2018, she left the civil service and embarked on a new life in emotional counseling for women.
Nowadays, she accompanies women to reconcile their emotions and to feel more vital in their daily lives through integrative humanistic therapy, body movement, and play. Its purpose is to improve our emotional quality of life, facilitate the processes of change, and guide us in our self-discovery, improving personal growth and self-love. In addition, she is dedicated to emotional accompaniment specializing in entrepreneurs and businesswomen.
An incredible and an inspiration for many of us, who knows how to extract the performance and power that we all possess and that it is required to discover it, pamper it, and love it like no other. Thank you for giving so much and creating a necessary value for us.
Born on the island of Fuerteventura, Julia Castro has been a professional sportswoman since birth. In her early days, her parents, divers by profession, were the pioneers in encouraging her life with the sport. From the age of 8, she got her first start as a diver, along with sports such as karate, horse riding, and sailing, a childhood full of merits.
In 2011, she began to excel in athletics, winning 4 gold medals. Unfortunately, due to a knee injury, she had to quit athletics. Kitesurfing came into her hands; she exchanged kite lessons for photos after working at the World Championships held every year in Fuerteventura.
Since then, it was all onward and upward : 4 times Spanish wake-boarding champion (2016-2019), runner-up in the Kite Park League World Championship 2018, 7th in the Cable Wakeboard World Championship 2018, and many more!
Today she is an excellent Community Manager of sports events. She always had it very clear in her life that she loves communication and sport, and what better mix! Without forgetting that she is closely linked to the environment and its conservation. Julia is an activist, sportswoman, and businesswoman who loves her island Fuerteventura.
ICÍAR SÁNCHEZ MONTERO
Born in Barakaldo, Bizkaia and resident in Fuerteventura, Icíar Sánchez defines herself as “I am experienced in the form of a woman, entrepreneur, writer, mother, friend, etc… and in recent years I have prioritized learning about emotional wellbeing, our mental balance and the different ways of finding stability and strength to face our life’s challenges”.
She loved books and phrases that inspired reflection from a very young age. She graduated in Industrial Relations and was responsible for sales teams for 15 years.
Founder of “Paseando Sueños”, a non-profit organization for leisure and sports activities for families with children with disabilities. This new stage in her life led her to write her first trilogy, “Soñando Pasión”. As Icíar says, “sharing time with families with disabilities helped me to connect with the right thoughts to lead my life in the right direction.”
Not only that, Icíar Sánchez develops talks, workshops, conscious and inspirational meetings, private mentoring where she shares her own experiences and way of feeling. She is currently organising retreats in Fuerteventura “Apasiónate por vivir”.
“There is no greater act of faith than to act in trust in life to improve, to find more happiness, understanding, and love.”
Icíar Sanchez Montero
Born in Girona, Mariona Masdemont is a woman of principles with deep convictions who does not give in to the pressure of the society in which she moves.
Her entire career is framed by a unique sense of integrity, marked by her passion for sport, making her a great leader. Her convictions are fundamental; she believes them, lives them, transmits them, and teaches them to others.
It starts as a guide for visually impaired athletes in the Spanish Paralympic Committee, coordinator of the Hospisport program of the Catalan Federation of Sports program for people with disabilities, responsible for the Spanish Paralympic Committee, and a host of positions that lead her today to be an admirable woman.
Today, she is the Play and Train Association co-founder, a non-profit social entity declared of public utility. Since 2008, she has been promoting people’s access to the sport, regardless of their ability, gender, and age, with recreational and competitive activities.
In the Canary Islands, and specifically in Fuerteventura, Play and Train develop surfing learning programs and camps for people with all kinds of disabilities.
In Fuerteventura, “we are developing a fundamental skills program for women with intellectual disabilities”.
Mariona insists that we must all be aware of the importance of designing environments with universal accessibility. It is an education that must be transferred to schools to understand that a person with a functional disability must have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Born in Puerto del Rosario. Her father is from El Cotillo, and her mother is from Seville.
Jessica de León studied in Puerto del Rosario at Pablo Neruda and IES Puerto del Rosario and always knew she wanted to tell stories. She is passionate about writing, reflecting on what is going on, giving her points of view, analyzing current affairs, and right now, she is venting this longing on social networks in a few posts.
She opted for journalism when she came home from high school and saw that the twin towers had fallen. She was in her last year of high school and was still hesitating between a career in history, which she is passionate about, and journalism. But when she saw journalists from all over the world narrating a historical event, she decided on this honorable and noble profession.
She studied Information Sciences Journalism in Seville, and her first job was in a radio station, the medium she likes the most for its immediacy, freshness, capacity to adapt. She then moved to television, a different medium, and worked in a local television station and RTVC to finally manage the Communication Office of the PP of Fuerteventura.
Her first public office was in 2015 when she was a candidate for Mayor of Puerto del Rosario and the whole legislature in opposition with the PP. It was a legislature of learning, challenging but very useful for this stage in the Cabildo of Fuerteventura. Two years being in the opposition and, since 11 months ago, in the Ministry of Tourism of Fuerteventura.
Jessica de León, on a political level, is currently the deputy secretary of communication of the PP of the Canary Islands, which is why she is excited to help the party’s message reach everyone so that we can become an alternative government.
Celia Carballo, Paula Gil, and Laura Alonso (SunDreams Global)
One of the most significant transformations that our education system has undergone in the last decade has been women’s access to formal education. Today, women have more possibilities to access education, at all levels, than women of previous generations could have had. This presence of women in the world of education appears to be related to the change in the social situation of women.
The improvement in women’s educational levels has been shown to impact the economic and health levels not only of women but of society as a whole.
Celia Carballo, Paula Gil, and Laura Alonso make up the perfect union of women; they belong to the SunDreams Global group whose main objective is to make every aspect of the experience in the CANARY ISLANDS part of a global learning process for the participant. Our goal is to make sure that each student or group feels at home and enjoys their experience abroad to the fullest.
Celia Carballo is a woman of Spanish (majorera) and German nationality. She studied in Granada and has a degree in Geography and Territorial Planning. She began her work experience working in the TUI Deutschland (Hannover) internship department and later as a receptionist at the Hotel Las Marismas (Corralejo). Now she is part of the SunDreams Global team, where she helps vocational students from all over Europe (including women) to get started in the world of work.
Paula Gil, a Majorera woman. Graduated in Tourism. Subsequently completed a Master’s Degree. She has 5 years of experience in organizing internships for Erasmus students. She is proud to be part of SunDreams Global, a company led by women, where she contributes every day with her effort and work.
Laura Alonso: Asturian woman. Graduate in Journalism and Communication. Diploma in Protocol and International Relations (event organization). She studied for a year in England and lived for two years in France, where she worked as an Event Organiser. Subsequently, she was head of the Public Relations and Entertainment Department at the Barceló Corralejo Bay and Barceló Corralejo Sands Hotels (Corralejo) for 4 years. She is currently working for SunDreams Global. Laura tells us that “they feel part of the change they want to promote and inspire their students.”
“Equal access to education and getting an education is necessary for more women to become agents of change.”
Asturian by birth and Majorera by choice, that’s Noelia Suárez.
When she chose to study tourism, her real vocation was always to work as a guide, as she is passionate about learning everything that has to do with art, culture, territories, nature, and especially about transmitting it.
In 2001, she came to the Canary Islands to continue exploring her profession, as she had already got an excellent permanent job, finished her studies, and was living independently… “I was suffocated by the feeling that everything stopped there, on the shores of routine!”
While studying for the tremendous qualification tests as a guide in the Canary Islands, she did many different jobs, as a teacher, entertainer, receptionist, commercial, manager in the hotel sector, quality auditor, and leisure companies.
Noelia tells us that the privilege of writing the memoirs of her husband’s centenarian grandmother with the help of the whole family was a gift of learning about life. Learning about the life of a Majorera woman 100 years ago has given her a great sense of struggle, family, and femininity.
In 2007 she started working as a guide, but she realized that this island was insignificant. This led her to present a rural development process through the local brand of the Biosphere Reserve of Fuerteventura 5 years ago. We began this journey, making it visible, accompanying, and uniting today more than 120 initiatives and people of the rural environment of the island in www.fuerteventurarural.org
Next step we have, is the opportunity to work on a project for the Canary Islands Government www.ecoareasmardetodos.org that under this same mission, vision and philosophy accompany 16 coastal territories or eco areas to sustainable management and development based on something indispensable – citizen participation, the consensus of the residents and the two-way dialogue with the administration to order and overcome barriers and goals of their places.
Noelia mentions: “It is a gift full of meaning for me to be able to contribute and learn every day from these people and from the nature of these Canary Islands that have given me so much and continue to remind me every day of the privilege of living here, the right to reach a consensus on how to decide a future in the balance.”
Originally from India, Varsha has worked all over the world. Having global consultancy experience spanning from India, China, Spain, UK and Hong Kong. She is currently headquartered with a team of digital nomads in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in Fuerteventura, where she is working on launching some of Europe’s coolest startups.
Her inherent and powerful goal focused mindset is something faculties teach in business schools on how to achieve . A winner , an achiever, a stereotype breaker. She has spoken in boardrooms across Asia and Europe where the women to men ratio was never equal, and that is precisely why she had a bigger responsibility in representing women as decision makers. Her philosophy is to break the glass ceiling and claim the place of the women on every note worthy table of decisions.
She is leading , fomenting and launching different brands on the intersection of technology, smart travel, sustainable solutions and digital art under her brainchild :fuerteventurastartups.com
When asked about her journey, Varsha mentioned, ‘ Technology. Perseverance. Island of Experiences.
Three things that define my journey in these three years on the magical island of Fuerteventura.
From pitching the government an idea when on vacations, to moving here, making it a reality and creating a global, inclusive and diverse team from scratch.
From fomenting tech led travel projects in the post covid world of green tourism to building sustainable projects in the public- private partnership sector for a circular economy.
It’s been one of the most exciting journeys, of learnings, discoveries, epiphanies, and sculpting courage to lead under all circumstances. A journey of standing up to give shape to ambitions and following a vision. . I’m truly grateful to this magnificent island for this out-of-the-world experience. . I’m just
beginning and so is the island of my dreams.’